LoRaWAN

Texascom - Turnkey LoRaWAN Solutions

LoRaWAN™ is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) specification intended for wireless battery operated Things in a regional, national or global network. LoRaWAN targets key requirements of Internet of Things such as secure bi-directional communication, mobility and localization services. The LoRaWAN specification provides seamless interoperability among smart Things without the need of complex local installations and gives back the freedom to the user, developer, businesses enabling the roll out of Internet of Things.

LoRaWAN network architecture is typically laid out in a star-of-stars topology in which gateways is a transparent bridge relaying messages between end-devices and a central network server in the backend. Gateways are connected to the network server via standard IP connections while end-devices use single-hop wireless communication to one or many gateways. All end-point communication is generally bi-directional, but also supports operation such as multicast enabling software upgrade over the air or other mass distribution messages to reduce the on air communication time.

Communication between end-devices and gateways is spread out on different frequency channels and data rates. The selection of the data rate is a trade-off between communication range and message duration. Due to the spread spectrum technology, communications with different data rates do not interfere with each other and create a set of "virtual" channels increasing the capacity of the gateway. LoRaWAN data rates range from 0.3 kbps to 50 kbps. To maximize both battery life of the end-devices and overall network capacity, the LoRaWAN network server is managing the data rate and RF output for each end-device individually by means of an adaptive data rate (ADR) scheme.

National wide networks targeting internet of things such as critical infrastructure, confidential personal data or critical functions for the society has a special need for secure communication. This has been solved by several layer of encryption:

  • Unique Network key (EUI64) and ensure security on network level

  • Unique Application key (EUI64) ensure end to end security on application level

  • Device specific key (EUI128)

 

LoRaWAN has several different classes of end-point devices to address the different needs reflected in the wide range of applications:

  • Bi-directional end-devices (Class A): End-devices of Class A allow for bi-directional communications whereby each end-device's uplink transmission is followed by two short downlink receive windows. The transmission slot scheduled by the end-device is based on its own communication needs with a small variation based on a random time basis (ALOHA-type of protocol). This Class A operation is the lowest power end-device system for applications that only require downlink communication from the server shortly after the end-device has sent an uplink transmission. Downlink communications from the server at any other time will have to wait until the next scheduled uplink.

  • Bi-directional end-devices with scheduled receive slots (Class B): In addition to the Class A random receive windows, Class B devices open extra receive windows at scheduled times. In order for the End-device to open its receive window at the scheduled time it receives a time synchronized Beacon from the gateway. This allows the server to know when the end-device is listening.

  • Bi-directional end-devices with maximal receive slots (Class C): End-devices of Class C have nearly continuously open receive windows, only closed when transmitting. Class C

LoRaWANtm: global standard for Low Power Wide Area IoT networks

LoRaWAN architecture:
The Internet of Things allows millions of devices to be connected, measured and monitored to automate processes and operations and support better decision making. Many technologies and communication protocols co-exist on the IoT market for different applications. Industrial IoT demands cost-effective, long-range and power-efficient sensors and actuators

 

The LoRaWAN protocol is a global standard that offers long range (up to 15km) bi-directional communications with very low power consumption, allowing operation for up to ten years on the same battery. LoraWAN is uses unlicensed ISM (Industrial, Scientific, Medical) radio bands for cost-efficient network deployments

Long Range
LoRaWAN provides long range (up to 15km) communication between sensors and base stations, resulting in networks with 2-3x times fewer base stations compared to cellular.

Bidirectional
Fully bidirectional communication enables a wide variety of uses cases requiring uplinks and downlinks: for example, street lighting, smart irrigation, energy optimisation or home automation.

Open source standard
The LoRaWAN standard is based on an open protocol approach managed by the LoRa Alliance™ which supervises the development of the standard and ensures interoperability between all LoRaWAN networks.

Cost
The LoRaWAN open standard combined with cost-free operation frequencies and low-cost base stations allows operators to roll out networks in a just few months and with minimum investment

Battery
LoRaWAN data transmission and reception requires low current (less than 50 mA), dramatically reducing power consumption of the devices and allowing battery life of up to 10 years.

Indoor penetration
The LoRa radio modulation allows deep indoor penetration and adds the ability to reach sensors monitoring water or gas meters located underground.

Unlicensed band
LoRaWAN networks are deployed on cost-free ISM bands (EU 868, AS 923, US 915 Mhz) allowing any service provider or company to deploy and operate LoRaWAN networks without having to acquire a license for any frequency.

Network geolocation
LoRaWAN can use network triangulation to passively locate any LoRa device. This enables new tracking applications, lower cost and battery life optimisation compared to GPS.

LoRaWAN architecture:

The Internet of Things allows millions of devices to be connected, measured and monitored to automate processes and operations and support better decision making. Many technologies and communication protocols co-exist on the IoT market for different applications. Industrial IoT demands cost-effective, long-range and power-efficient sensors and actuators.

A typical LoRaWAN network uses a simple architecture where LoRaWAN base stations connect
to the internet through a variety of available backhauls, and manages the bidirectional data flow
between LoRa sensors and the network server.

LoraWAN architecture

LoRaWAN networks enable a large variety of vertical solutions allowing service providers to use one platform and standard to manage various use cases such as intelligent buildings, precision agriculture, smart metering or smart cities

LoRaWAN applications

LoRaWAN for geolocation: easy, cost-effective and long-lasting tracking

LoRaWAN is the new global standard for low power and long range IoT communication. With a range of up to 15km and up to 10-year battery life, LoRaWAN is supported by major global network operators including Orange, Comcast, NTT, Softbank, Proximus, KPN, Swisscom etc. LoRaWAN networks are idealy suited for industrial IoT applications including connected buildings, smart metering, smart cities and precision agriculture. A key capability is “geolocation”:

 

Geolocation capabilities

Geolocation can be used to locate connected objects, track them as they move, or create geo-fences: sending an alert if an object moves outside a defined area. Many applications can benefit from geolocation - either GPS based or LoRaWAN network based, depending on the requirements

 

LoRa for energy/cost efficient location estimate

LoRaWAN networks can locate devices without GPS, using only radio communications signals. Three GPS-synchronized base stations with accurate timestamping are able to triangulate any sensor’s position.

Measuring Time Difference on Arrival (TDoA) translates into the distance between it and three fixed points which allows for an estimate location

Typical Uses of LoRaWAN

Open pit mining
Animal
Asset tracking
Cable drum

 

Geo-fencing: Open pit mine equipment

 

Open pit mines are large and remote areas that contain mission-critical and very expensive equipment. Their position needs to be
constantly monitored to avoid accidents, streamline operations (refuelling, maintenance...) and even to avoid thefts.

GPS-free network location allows mine operators to leverage robust, reliable and long-life LoRa sensors.

Animal tracking: Wildlife in nature reserves

Wild animals are equipped with trackers for health, scientific or security purposes. To limit human interference, the sensors’ batteries need to last for several months at least. LoRaWAN network based triangulation allows authorities to locate them in huge areas without resorting to GPS. An estimate of the animal’s position is enough and battery life is hugely increased.

Anti theft: Cable drums in sub-stations

In depots or at construction sites, cable drums must be monitored to avoid thefts or mishandling. LoRa combined with GPS can meet this need. Combined with a geo-fencing application, sensors will trigger an alert if the drums are being moved outside a predefined area, securing the asset whilst securing a long battery life.

 

 

Asset tracking: Containers

6 million shipping containers are in transit at any time. Their owners and their clients require visibility of the ongoing condition of their products and containers.

LoRa sensors with GPS chips provide port authorities and transportation companies with a powerful and cost effective tool for asset tracking and location, within ports or storage facilities

Lora with or without GPS ?

LoRa sensors with GPS
High accuracy (a few meters or less)
Limited battery life, more complex and costly sensor package
Suited for high value asset tracking and accessible sensor batteries to recharge within weeks

LoRa network-based location

Area-based location
Long lasting battery, cheaper devices
Suited for use cases where meter-precise location is not needed but accessibility (hence battery life) & cost are critical